Frequently Asked Questions

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General

Unfortunately, not everyone is entitled to furlough during the COVID-19 lockdown period, but thankfully the government has advised us to continue operating where possible, under Social Distancing guidelines. We are still open during normal operating hours, so please continue to support your local small businesses by calling us for any floor cleaning service where it will be safe to work for both parties.

We can provide an estimate over the phone, however the size of each home is different and the material of your carpet fibre or stone floor may require a specific cleaning process, so we provide an accurate quote at closer inspection. Upon inspection we take measurements of the room and undertake necessary tests to determine the content of the floor material.

For example, a wool carpet requires the more expensive Woolsafe cleaning solutions and generally takes a little longer to clean than synthetic carpets. Many rugs have sisal which require compound cleaning methods and water must be avoided at all costs due to shrinkage. When a customer calls to ask how much it costs to remove varnish from a stone floor, we need to undertake a demonstration to determine which of our products will actually work.

Not all varnishes can be removed with an ordinary cleaning solution, finding the correct product takes time and PPE must be worn when applying strong ether solvents. All of these factors are taken into account when compiling a quotation.
Our inspection is free, and once our quote is provided there will be no further adjustments.

If any part of our cleaning service does not meet your expectations and you inform us within 2 working days, we will re-clean the specific area free of charge. However every clean is inspected before leaving the premises and we do our best to avoid such circumstances. Our staff have regular performance reviews and they serve the best interest of the customer.

We ensure all our staff have DBS certificates and that they obtain professional training in order to follow the correct cleaning processes. To date we have been trained by three nationally-recognised stone restoration specialists and we have the support of hundreds of members who have been in the tile restoration industry for many years. For softer furnishings, we are also members of the National Carpet Cleaning Association and have been trained by Prochem and Woolsafe to clean natural fibres safely, and in such a way that the warranty can be maintained.

A “promise to safeguard your home against the deadly coronavirus” is spreading like wildfire throughout the cleaning industry. The National Carpet Cleaning Association has identified such marketing tactics as opportunistic, potentially taking advantage of the vulnerable, in order to increase sales during the isolation period. So who should you believe, and would you place all of your trust in the cleaning company or would you be satisfied if their promise was not 100% accurate?

Being a novel virus, Covid-19 sanitisation tests are still in the very early stages and there is currently no known chemical or product that can disinfect our homes completely.  All theories are based on previous coronavirus outbreaks such as SARS or MERS. When these types of viruses come into contact with non-living objects such as metal or wood, scientists state that it can remain infectious for 3 to 9 days, but the infection rate can be reduced by following the government guidelines.  Disinfection methods and solutions, such as 60% alcohol, peroxide or bleach, can reduce the risk of passing the infection but not necessarily eliminate them.

So really, the only promise that cleaning companies should offer is to “assist” in creating a healthier environment for susceptible individuals. The company’s Risk Assessment and Method Statement should be updated to include:

  1. Social Distancing rules to reduce the infection risk from coronavirus;
  2. COSHH sheets for any new chemicals being used, such as Microsan or Formula 429;
  3. the methods to use and dispose of chemicals and PPE waste;
  4. to try and sanitise taps and door handles when leaving the property;
  5. and to advise customers to not return for 72 hours.

 

Research found at NCCAGov.uk

Carpet Cleaning

Combining the various steps in our carpet cleaning process we are able to offer dry carpets withing 2 hours after our service. This drying time would depend on the air circulation of the room, the condition of the carpets before the service, and the thickness of the pile.
Although carpets will only be completely dry after 24 hours, you will be able to walk on your carpets within 2 hours without it feeling wet against your bare hands or feet, however we wouldn’t advise walking in socks just yet! In the fourth phase of the cleaning process Cleaning Agents use a contra rotating brush machine that gently agitates the carpet during the pre-spray phase. This step not only removes most of the dirt from the carpet but also requires very little water. In the fifth phase Cleaning Agents uses a high-pressure pump to extract this pre-spray. This allows us to rinse the pre-spray from the carpet with more water than with most other machines, allowing the carpet to dry very quickly.
A damp carpet could result in unpleasant odours, carpet shrinkage and a void in your warranty. If your current carpet cleaner uses the steam cleaning rinsing wand only, without a pre-spray, then it means there is too much water being pumped into your carpets in order to get it clean. Ensure that your carpet cleaner has been trained, ask for the certificate which proves he/she has passed the exam. Or look on the NCCA website to see if the company is a verified member.

Upon registration we will determine your personal needs and we’ll use “pet-free” vacuum cleaners when visiting your home. If you’re allergic to anything just let us know and we’ll use the correct cleaning solutions.

Natural fibres tend to turn yellow and shrink if subjected to a lot of water. Some natural fibres such as wool require cleaning solutions with a lower pH in order to maintain their structure and colour. If a natural fibre is rubbed aggressively this could damage the structure permanently. Our trained carpet cleaners are able to identify the fibre and clean it according to the manufacturer’s specifications in order to maintain your warranty.

Wet carpet cleaning is described in our seven steps of the cleaning process. It uses two types of cleaning solutions – a solvent to remove oily soils and a lower pH solution to rinse and extract the dirt.

There are two types of dry carpet cleaning methods: A damp powdery compound is spread evenly onto the carpet which is agitated with a gentle brush; Or a wet liquid that’s highly volatile and forms a crystal around the dirt particles deep within the fibre. This latter solution is sprayed onto the carpet which is also agitated with a gentle brush. Both methods require a thorough vacuum cleaning afterward instead of a hot water extraction rinse. Both dry cleaning methods are recommended for carpets, rugs and upholstery that consists of dye that tends to bleed, or consists of natural fibres that tend to shrink or warp. Using the correct method will ensure your warranty is still in place once the treatment is completed.

What Causes Black Lines along the Edge of Your Carpet? If you would like them removed please visit our Carpet Cleaning page and get in touch with us. But first, read on to find out how these draft marks are caused.

Ever noticed the edge of a carpet becoming darker over time? These are called DRAFT MARKS.

Filtration soiling occurs as a result of air being forced into the room or space at a higher rate than it can escape from the same area, via the ventilation system. The air then seeks alternative escape routes, which usually end up being the gap between the carpet and the wall trim and under closed doors. As the air is forced through these gaps, it passes through the carpet, which acts as a filter to the air. Any pollutants in the air are trapped by the carpet and turn the carpet gray or black in that area.

Common pollutants that can contribute to the problem include smoke from cigarettes and candles, cooking oils, fireplace ash, and dust. This soiling does not occur as a result of insufficient vacuuming or improper vacuuming techniques (although consistently failing to vacuum the very edge of the room can help to amplify the problem). It is a problem that can occur in the cleanest of homes and is not considered a reflection of housekeeping abilities. The soiling is generally from vehicle fumes, especially diesel. So it is greasy and clings to the fibres. It often leaves a permanent greyness to the carpet, wool being the hardest to get great results.

Paul Pearce, National Carpet Cleaning Association, 2018

Because it’s difficult to identify the type of biological dirt and pathogens which may have been extracted through carpet cleaning, it is a legal requirement to dispose of dirty solution through the toilet or sewage system. A cleaning technician can be fined up to £20,000 if they’re caught disposing the dirty carpet water down a rainwater pipe or into the garden. To adhere to this law, our technicians must use the toilet or external sewage system.

Here’s a link from the government website that describes the different water drainage systems.

 

Scientifically speaking, a steam-clean that ‘evapourates’ at 100 °C would damage carpet fibres and any glue that might be used to bond to the floor surface. Many customers mistake hot water extraction as steam cleaning.  This is because the hot water that gets pumped into the carpet is so fast that it causes a light spray on the surface of the carpet before it gets vacuumed into the dirty water tank. This is especially visible in the winter cold months.

Cold water that’s mixed with cleaning solution is pumped through a narrow solution hose from a clean water tank toward the carpet (picture below). Before the water reaches the carpet, an integrated heater increases the temperature so that it reaches the carpet at about 60 °C. The high-pressured pump forces the hot water into the base of the carpet, yet the angle of the trajection avoids wetting the underlay, allowing a faster drying time. The pressurised solution captures dirt particles and is immediately extracted through a vacuum hose and deposited into a separate waste tank.

Stone Tile Restoration

Yes, we first clean the floor and remove scratches for you, then grind the stone to a desired finish. Most natural stone can be polished to a honed finish or shined finish, the only difference in the process is the final diamond pad that’s used during the restoration. A consultation will determine if your floor is suitable for a shiny polished finish.

A honed finish tends to be an 800 grit pad and if you want a satin finish we offer 1500 grit, and 3000 can be used for a higher shine. 5000 or 8000 grit is for super glossy finish.

If you’re not sure about it, we can do a demonstration on a small area. If you’re looking for a glassy reflective appeal please tell us during the quotation visitation because this process requires a whole different set of pads and we need to know before the demonstration begins. If decide that you don’t like the shine it will be easy enough to restore back to honed.

For a room of about 60 sqm we ask for two days to complete a full restoration. The second day is required to apply the second coat of sealant. Each diamond pad can take up to 3 minutes per square meter so the full process depends on the desired finish, whether it be honed, satin or gloss. Here is our process:

1. Clean

  • Stripping of old sealant is not always required if we’re going to use diamond pads, however this process offers the best results when cleaning dirty grout lines. The sealant must be rinsed and vacuumed thoroughly before the next process.

2. Restore

  • Filling of cracks and holes depends on the state of the floor and could take several hours.
  • 400 grit pad grinds out the scuffed and damaged areas.
  • 800 grit pad for honed finish and to smooth out the roughness of the 400 grit.
  • 1500 grit pad for a satin finish.
  • 3000 grit pad for a shiny finish.
  • 5000 grit pad for a high gloss finish.

3. Seal

  • Sealant application for a room could take one hour but requires 3 hours drying time and the floor must have a maximum of 5% moisture before we can apply it. We generally return the following day for the second coat.

If you don’t want a full restoration with diamond pads, but only a strip and seal cleaning service, we can undertake this in one day. The process is the same as the restoration process above, skipping out the diamond pads. If required, we can also offer a partial restoration service such as filling of cracks and holes. With our specialist diamond-grit hand tools we can bring the resin to the same polished finish of the rest of the floor. We often undertake this service during a travertine strip and seal.

Travertine is formed by a process of rapid precipitation of calcium carbonate, often at the mouth of a hot spring or in a limestone cave. The appearance of travertine may resemble Swiss Emmental cheese where the springs have gradually eroded away the softer material, leaving holes. These holes can be filled at the factory before the tiles are polished. Over time these factory fillers may fall out of the tile, revealing a hole that is susceptible to collecting dirt which is very difficult to clean out.

At Cleaning Agents we often encounter travertine tiles with holes that require filling. After stripping the floor clean from old sealant, which has accumulated dirt over the years, we use a high power vacuum that rinses out the dirt from the holes.

Once the holes and cracks are dry we key the surface gently to provide a rough surface to which the new resin can be applied. The 2-part epoxy resin that we use consists of the Filler and the Hardener. It’s important to get the ratio of these two products correct otherwise it could harden too quickly or too slowly. Too fast, and we wouldn’t have enough time to blend the material into the stone; and too slowly means we’d need to return the following day to complete the process.

Once the resin is dry we sand it to the same finish, of matt or gloss, as the surrounding stone floor (or counter top). This could be done with hand tools but for a higher quality of concealment we prefer to complete the honing process with the 17” rotary machine that we use for the rest of the floor.

The entire floor can be sealed with an impregnating sealant that slows down the seepage process of future spillages.

Tile Cleaning

Not all porcelain tiles can be polished because there is often a thin layer of glazed print on the surface which could be entirely removed during the polishing process. We can only grind porcelain tiles that are full-bodied, which have a surface colour that has been baked throughout the tile. If we test a tile and find that it’s porcelain, we ask for the manufacturer’s details before any polishing can be undertaken.

Tilers usually apply a thin coat of sealant to the tiles before they lay them and it helps them to remove unwanted grouting haze, which is the messy part of installing tiles and can be very difficult to clean.

 

Sealant may be used by home owners who struggle to keep their grout lines clean, or who have a habit of spilling staining liquids such as wine, coffee, food or even mud that’s brought in from outside. Although the sealant does not stick to the smooth porcelain surface, it quite happily solidifies in the porous grout. Any liquid that falls on top can be wiped off without too much effort.

 

Because grout is the deepest part of the tile, dirt often settles in these grooves regardless of whether or not it has sealant. And sometimes the dirt might cling onto the sealant instead of soaking through to the porous grout (the purpose of the sealant) and the only way to remove the dirt is to remove the sealant too. So most tile cleaning services start by stripping anything that could be trapping dirt to the tiles. This stripper is a high alkaline solution and harmless to most tiles, even stone. Stripping solution is corrosive to wood and vinyl and should be kept well away from these softer furnishings.

 

Although tile cleaning companies cannot offer any guarantee on the sealants ability to keep tiles clean, impregnating sealant can be very expensive and the cost of applying these products is priced at half of the cleaning service.

 

So you can see there’s no harm in sealing porcelain tiles, it just depends on whether or not the customer would like to invest in something that might, or might not, work.

 

 

For more information on tile cleaning and sealing

call us at 01344 374671

text 07919 624005

email info@CleaningAgents.co.uk